The word Ukraine means “Borderland” or “Bordering Country”? Historically, Ukraine acted as a bridge between Asia and Europe.
The territory of Ukraine was first inhabited 44,000 years ago. A cradle of early civilization, it is believed to be in Ukraine, that our hunter-gatherer ancestors first domesticated horses.
Over the years, it was ruled by various powers as fragments until its consolidation into the Soviet Republic in the 20th century.
Ukraine has extensively fertile farmlands and is known as a global “Bread Basket”. In addition, the country is well developed in the manufacturing sector, particularly in the area of aerospace and industrial equipment.
Recently there has been unrest in Ukraine. The main reason was over business and trade ties between Ukraine and the European Union (EU). The EU is a group of 28 countries in Europe that collaborate with each other. An agreement was expected to be signed between the two. However, Ukraine’s government decided not to go ahead with the agreement, and instead, decided to further improve its ties with Russia, one of its already big trading partners. Many Ukrainians became upset because they believed their country would benefit from having closer ties with the EU countries.
Several Ukrainians felt cheated and they protested against the decision. The protests were held in the capital city of Ukraine, Kiev. The government had to use force against the protesters and many were hurt. The situation became really bad and the people of Ukraine ousted President Viktor Yanukovych. He fled to Russia and a temporary government has been placed until May.
However, it is believed some Ukrainians prefer closer ties to Russia instead of the EU, especially those in a southern region of Ukraine named Crimea. Crimea is a major land mass located just South of Ukrainian mainland and West of the Russian region of Kuban. It became the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, when Ukraine became an independent nation in 1991. The sovereignty of the port city of Sevastopol and an autonomous Republic of Crimea was however, in dispute with Russia.
After President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted, Russia sent its troops to Crimea on March 1, 2014, claiming to protect Crimea’s pro-Russian population.
A referendum was held in Crimea on March 16, 2014 and the citizens of Crimea overwhelmingly voted to break off from Ukraine and join Russia. As a result, the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, completed the annexation of Crimea on Friday, March 21, 2014 and signed a treaty declaring Crimea a part of Russia.
On April 3, 2014, Crimea and the city of Sevastopol became part of Russia's Southern Military District.
However, Crimea was legally a part of Ukraine after the Soviet Union disintegrated. Many countries in the West including United Kingdom and the United States, blame Russia for illegally entering into Ukraine’s land and do not accept the Russian annexation of Crimea.
Escalations continue in Eastern Ukraine. The Ukraine government wants pro-Russian demonstrators to leave office buildings that they occupied. Russia meanwhile, is looking at increased presence in Ukraine. There are fears of civil war or more areas being taken over by Russia. The western countries are considering more sanctions. Where will this lead to? What do you think?
domesticated: tamed and kept as a pet or on a farm
unrest: a state of dissatisfaction,typically involving public demonstrations or disorder.
referendum: a popular vote on a single political question
escalations: to become worse or to make (something) worse or more severe